Convert Waste to Energy with Methane Production

Learn how to convert manure and garbage to energy using this small-scale methane producing plant. Originally titled "How I Generate Power from Garbage" in the May/June 1970 issue of  Mother Earth News.


| May/June 1970


How do we — on a very personal individual, family, tribal or community level — recycle garbage into fertilizer and useable power? Can we do it? Kieth D. Gilbert says, "Yes!" 

Drawing on personal experience and the World Health Organization's book entitled Composting, Kieth presents a blueprint. 

Please note that this system requires users to somehow physically move wastes into and out of the plant whereas C.E. Burr's design automatically transfers such wastes. Burr's ideas, then, seem — by far — the more practical, trouble-free and desirable ... even if details, at this point, are a little sketchy. Perhaps we can build an ideal recycling unit by grafting onto Burr's design the following details on how to generate power from garbage. 

Generate Power from Waste

This article is presented as an alternative to the usual wasteful disposal of manure, feces, and various other organic materials. By using the principles presented here for converting organic waste into methane gas, even the most remote wilderness cabin can have gas heating, refrigeration and electricity. All the home appliances and machines which run on butane gas can be made to operate on methane and by using a compressor you can probably convert your car or truck to operate on methane also. There is another point of view which you may also feel is worth considering: The gases which we harness and use in this fashion would have been released into the atmosphere anyway so we will be adding nothing to the pollution of our environment.

In fact, we will be doing considerable good if we harness and use these ordinarily wasted gases as a partial substitute for other power sources. We'll do even more good if we also use the residue from our composters as fertilizer for the land.

There are several basic factors which must be considered in constructing or purchasing a digester installation. These are: (1) Climate; (2) Single or multiple family installations; (3) Amount of wastes available; (4) Gas production; (5) Number and size of digesters; (6) Location of digesters; (7) Gas requirements and storage; (8) Materials and costs.

Abhimanyu
7/24/2014 6:08:23 AM

Can I have a clearer picture illustrations for "Convert Waste to Energy with Methane Production". Thank you






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